hop festival

Bromyard Hop festival

There are two obsessions for most middle aged people in Britain; their car insurance and their beer. The general impression is that both are far too expensive.

Nobody wants to pay for car insurance. Nobody loves nonstop car insurance TV ads with bored bulls, comic opera and manic rodents. If we must insure our cars we want to do it quickly, easily and cheaply. Yes there is the odd very cheap car insurance website (at least they claim to be very cheap!) and the government is trying to reduce the price of premiums but the cost of car insurance is still enough to drive most of us to drink.

Short term car insurance might be the answer. After all we live in a short time world. You can even insure a car for as little as 1 single day. Can you insure a hop wagon temporarily in this way? I don't know I've never tried.

Any way if you want car insurance for just one day visit this website.

Speaking of drink, why do we drink beer? Simple. In earlier days water was a very dangerous thing to drink, being full of all kinds of bacteria and other living organisms. To make it safe it needed to be boiled, but it also needed to be stored and at some stage in history it was found that a mildly alcoholic drink made from wheat or barley could last longer without spoiling.

Unfortunately this created a rather sweetish drink and so bitter agents such as wormwood or hops were added. It soon became apparent that hops made the drink more resistant to spoiling and so it's use became widespread.

Like the Greeks with their retsina, other Europeans soon developed a taste for beer made from hops and the rest is history.

Hop growing was introduced into Hereford's Frome Valley in the 16th century and the Bromyard area has a long history of growing them; first of all for local use, and then for sale throughout Britain. Despite a few ups and downs, including foreign competition and occasional problems caused by a disease called the verticillium wilt, Hereford has remained a major hop growing area and now produces more than any other part of the United Kingdom.

In the hop growing heyday it was traditional for workers from the Midlands and South Wales to travel to Bromyard for a working holiday, to help get the harvest in, hopefully get a sunburn and earn a little pocket money.

It is hardly surprising that a hop festival was staged in Bromyard in September 2011.

The main attraction was to be what was named, somewhat tongue in cheek, the World Hop Pocket Championship! Four teams were to race around the town centre, carrying a 70 kg sack, or pocket, of hops. There was a parade of horse-drawn carts and caravans, a funfair, a display of hops and the means of growing and preparing them, a beer competition, music, food and drinks.

The event proved popular enough to be added to the town's calendar with several thousand attenders every year. by 2014 an even more ambitious programme was staged, featuring:

Problems soon surfaced however. The organisers of shows like this, that are free to attend, usually have to rely on sponsorship and volunteers to run it, but in 2016 a lack of both of these forced it's cancellation.

Another one was planned for 2017 with a fancy dress race, a parade of vintage vehicles, a scooter race for the kids and live bands but it now seems to have faded from history, although a folk festival in Bromyard is still going strong.

With Bromyard Hop Festival Ltd voluntarily dissolved in 2018 it is perhaps unlikely that the hop festival will return, at least in it's previous form.

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